Ada L. Smith

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Ada L. Smith
Member of the New York State Senate
from the 20th, then the 12th and the 10th district
In office
Preceded by Thomas J. Bartosiewicz
Succeeded by Shirley Huntley
Personal details
Born (1945-04-18) April 18, 1945 (age 72)
Amherst County, Virginia
Political party Democratic

Ada L. Smith (born April 18, 1945) is an American politician from New York.


She was born on April 18, 1945, in Amherst County, Virginia, and was raised in New York City.[1]) She graduated from Baruch College in 1973.[2]

Smith, who remains unmarried, entered politics as a Democrat, and was a deputy in the office of the City Clerk of New York City. She was a member of the New York State Senate from 1989 to 2006, sitting in the 188th, 189th, 190th, 191st, 192nd, 193rd, 194th, 195th and 196th New York State Legislatures. Her district was centered in the Jamaica, Queens section of New York City.

Smith was the ranking minority member of the Senate's Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee, and gained notoriety for several brushes with the law. She was backed by her party organization in the 2006 Democratic senate primary election[3] but lost to challenger Shirley Huntley, who also won the general election later that year.


In 1996, staffer LaSone Garland-Bryan accused Smith of menacing her with a knife while they were alone in Smith's office. According to Garland-Bryan's statement, the senator became angry when she overheard Garland-Bryan telling family members that Smith "sometimes forgot to take her medication". Garland-Bryan declined to press charges, but wrote an official complaint about the incident to then-Senate Minority Leader Martin Connor, who responded by asserting that he had "no authority" to punish Smith.[4]

In 1998, New York City police arrested Smith after she allegedly became belligerent and bit an officer following a traffic stop in Brooklyn. Police were eventually forced to mace Smith and drag her from her car in order to subdue her.[5]

In 2004, Smith was arrested and cited for reckless driving after refusing to stop at a police checkpoint at a state garage in Albany. Smith refused to stop in order to present ID, and attempted to accelerate through the checkpoint, almost running over a State Trooper with her car in the process.[6][7]

In 2006, Smith's Chief-of-Staff, Philip Mahlke, alleged that he was fired after having objected to Smith's frequent use of homophobic slurs in abusive tirades against both himself and her other staffers.[7]

Smith was convicted on August 26, 2006 in Albany City Court of misdemeanor harassment stemming from an attack on former aide Jennifer Jackson in Smith's Albany office on March 21, 2006.

In the incident, Smith flew into a rage and threw hot coffee in Jackson's face after the staffer commented on her weight. Jackson also alleged that Smith pulled off her hairpiece, injuring her neck in the process, and threatened to kill her if she reported the incident. The senator, who is heavy-set, had just returned from a Weight Watchers meeting that morning to report she had lost 4.3 pounds. According to published reports, Jackson said she simply made a lighthearted comment about expecting her boss to have shed more pounds given her constant on-the-go lifestyle, and did not intend to insult her. Smith's lawyer denied the charges and accused Jackson of lying to authorities, claiming that Jackson told had actually told the senator she needed to lose 100 pounds.

Originally charged with misdemeanor battery, Smith chose to go to trial on the charges, rejecting an offer of a plea deal that would include anger management counseling.[5] The harassment conviction does not carry any jail time.

In the aftermath of the coffee attack, then-Senate Minority Leader David Paterson stripped Smith of her state-issued car, her honorary title, and a $9,500 per year stipend attached to her leadership position. Paterson stated that the coffee attack was the latest demonstration of what he called "a pattern of inappropriate, unprofessional and often abusive behavior" from Smith.

Smith has gone through over 200 high-level aides and staffers in her 18 years in the Senate, more than any other sitting Senator in New York State history.[7]


  1. ^ "Profile of Senator Ada L. Smith". 
  2. ^ Distinguished CUNY Alumnae
  3. ^ Hicks, Jonathan P. (2006-05-23). "Senator in Coffee-Throwing Case Gets Party Backing for Re-election". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ Joe Mahoney and David Saltonstall (2006-04-06). "'WILD WOMAN' TALES. Hurling coffee, insulting gays, cursing, you name it - her ex-aides say Sen. Smth's done it". The New York Daily News. 
  5. ^ a b "State senator rejects plea deal". Times Union. 2006-04-27.
  6. ^ Cooper, Michael (2006-04-07). "Aide Testifies in Coffee-Throwing Accusation". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ a b c "The Bobby Knight Of The State Assembly". Bridge and Tunnel Club Blog. 2006-04-06. 
New York State Senate
Preceded by
Thomas J. Bartosiewicz
New York State Senate
20th District

Succeeded by
Marty Markowitz
Preceded by
Leonard P. Stavisky
New York State Senate
12th District

Succeeded by
George Onorato
Preceded by
Malcolm Smith
New York State Senate
10th District

Succeeded by
Shirley Huntley